Central West national parks see a boom in visitation numbers

ON THE RISE: Trips to NSW national parks are on the rise. Main photo: Mount Canobolas, left: Mount Nangar lookout, right: Borenore Karst.
ON THE RISE: Trips to NSW national parks are on the rise. Main photo: Mount Canobolas, left: Mount Nangar lookout, right: Borenore Karst.

Staff at NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) across the Central West are describing the level of visitation this winter as "unprecedented".

This surge in visitation is not confined to the Central West, however, with national parks reporting a surge in visits right across the state as people seek out the comforts of nature to dispel their worries and concerns of the coronavirus pandemic.

A recent NPWS report indicates stays at campgrounds and campsites across the state were up by more than a third in July compared to the same month last year.

"Local staff have called the level of visitation this winter as unprecedented," a NSW NPWS spokesperson said.

"Campgrounds have been extremely busy compared to previous years, as have walking tracks.

"Campground bookings are now online in keeping with Covid requirements."

The June long weekend saw an incredible 6200 people visit Mount Canobolas, south west of Orange, compared to the usual peak Easter visitation of 4000.

Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve, west of Orange, was also popular over the June long weekend receiving 5100 day visitors which is nearly 25 per cent of its annual visitation.

Camping areas in Nangar, Weddin Mountain and Goobang - which all fall under the NPWS' Country NSW zone which includes the Central West area - have also reported being "very busy".

A NPWS spokeswoman told the Sydney Morning Herald last week that the service was monitoring busy precincts and temporarily limiting access if visitor numbers become high, in order to keep the community safe.

"We understand the importance of spending time in nature, and we encourage visitors to choose lower-visitation parks where possible," she said.

Some other NSW NPWS campgrounds closer to Bathurst include the Abercrombie Karst Conservation Reserve and the Capertee and the Policemans Point campgrounds within the Capertee National Park.

The Abercrombie Caves campground within the Abercrombie Karst Conservation Reserve remains closed to camping, however, since March 26 to ensure it complies with the current coronavirus rules.

From 1 June, all reopened campgrounds and campsites will require a booking to be made before visiting because of the coronavirus.

It's been a hectic year so far for many of the state's national parks, with many closing during the summer because of the bushfires, with some still closed to the public due to the extensive damage.

To find out if a campground or campsite is closed or if you wish to book to camp in a NSW national park visit the NSW NPWS website at www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au.

This story Central West national parks see a boom in visitation numbers first appeared on Parkes Champion-Post.